The Hamptons Doc Fest, now in its 14th year, was founded by filmmakers to champion and celebrate the rich, diverse and eclectic world of documentary film. Our aim is to bring the work of talented and inspired documentary filmmakers to new audiences. We recognize and honor film and filmmakers who deserve a closer look.

The Hamptons Doc Fest screens approximately 35 films including features and shorts. The festival runs 10 days, a hybrid of virtual and live in-theater screenings. Our mantra is 'all docs all day.' For 2021, the festival dates are December 3 to December 11. Be part of it and submit your film.

Our annual 10-day festival of ‘all docs all day’ welcomes filmmakers and documentary film lovers to the historic village of Sag Harbor, New York for dozens of screenings, discussions, panels, awards, and celebrations. In this intimate, walkable setting festival-goers enjoy the local area’s unique shops, restaurants, inns, museums, and parks. The inviting and friendly atmosphere of this filmmakers' festival is conducive to connecting with other filmmakers and industry professionals. Visiting film artists and guests routinely comment on how the festival is professional, welcoming, well organized AND affordable.

The festival attracts many giants in the world of documentary film such as Susan Lacy, Chris Hegedus, Alex Gibney, Liz Garbus, Barbara Kopple, Stanley Nelson, Jr, Sheila Nevins, Robert Kenner, who come to support emerging talent and to celebrate fellow directors and producers. The festival is electric with the latest in documentary filmmaking news and is positioned to be a must-stop on the festival circuit.

Hamptons Doc Fest highlights include: Young Voices for students, Friday Spotlight Film, and the Saturday Gala. The Awards: the Filmmaker’s Choice Award, the Breakout Director Award for an emerging documentary director, the Human Rights Award, the Art & Inspiration Award, and the Audience Award all come with cash prizes. The coveted Pennebaker Career Achievement Award is presented at our Gala event.

Our annual Saturday Gala continues to honor and celebrate visionaries in the world of documentary film. As filmmakers, we stand on their shoulders. We have been honored to recognize Robert Kenner for his 30-year insightful and compelling documentary oeuvre whose "Food Inc.", one of the highest grossing theatrical documentaries, was hailed by critics as a shattering indictment of the food industry; Richard Leacock who created the sound-sync camera and cinema verité; Susan Lacy who enlivened artists through the art of documentary biography; D A Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus who skillfully examined life from the inside; Barbara Kopple whose 40-year career of documentary filmmaking reminds us to be courageous, bold, honest; Stanley Nelson, Jr. for his tireless films confronting race in America; Alex Gibney, whose unwavering eye for gripping stories, brings us new insights; Liz Garbus, the acclaimed and prolific director known for complex portraits and social justice films; Sheila Nevins, who created and sustained HBO Documentary films for over 27 years, introduced the genre to thousands of homes across America; Fredrick Wiseman, the master of long form documentary films that delve into substance and soul of his subjects and institutions.

Hamptons Doc Fest promotes the festival’s mission throughout the year.
DOCS EQUINOX, an April/May program of invited documentary films.
FILMARTS+FORUM, a 12-month outreach project that screens festival films at libraries, art museums, galleries, and community centers.
YOUNG VOICES program with media arts' workshops in the classroom and in theater for local middle and high schools.

The Hamptons Doc Fest receives extensive local, county and state print coverage in newspapers: The New York Times, Newsday, Southampton Press, East Hampton Press, Sag Harbor Express, East Hampton Star, Dan’s Papers; in magazines: Networking Magazine, Hamptons Magazine; and extensive online coverage on,,,, NY and others. Radio interviews and TV interviews air several weeks in advance of the festival. A robust television campaign with festival spots runs on prime channels prior to and up to the festival.
A consistent social media presence promotes on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, weekly E-newsletters and thru our website

HDF presents an annual "Filmmaker's Choice Award" to a documentary director/producer selected by prior festival filmmakers. In 2019 Mirra Bank, a multi-award winning filmmaker was recognized for "No Fear No Favor" photographed on the front lines of Africa's poaching crisis. In 2018 Sam Pollard accepted the award for a 30-year career producing and directing capped with his doc on Sammy Davis, Jr. In 2017 Helen Whitney was honored for her 45 years of award-winning films that reflect her passionate personal interest in the religious journey. In 2016 Catherine Tambini took home the prize for her extensive filmmaking career including "Farmingville" and the Academy Award-nominated documentary "Suzanne Farrell: Elusive Muse." In 2015 we saluted Liz Garbus and her Academy-award nominated documentary on Nina Simone. In 2014 Wendy Keys won the screening award for her award-winning documentary film "Milton Glaser: To Inform & Delight." In 2013 Lana Jokel was selected for her lifetime achievement in creating documentaries about famous artists such as Robert Motherwell, Lee Krasner, Claes Oldenburg, Howard Kanovitz and Isamu Noguchi.

HDF proudly collaborates with the School of Visual Arts SocDoc MFA program giving first-time filmmakers a special opportunity to see their work on the big screen. Many careers are launched at our festival.

Hamptons Doc Fest presents several cash-awards in various categories: the Audience Award to the best documentary feature receiving the most audience ballots; the new Breakout Director Award to a documentary film Director whose voice and vision are original and exceptional. The award is in recognition of artistic merit for a feature-length film, selected by a distinguished jury; the new Human Rights Award that goes to a film that celebrates courage in the face of social injustice; the new Art & Inspiration award that goes to a film that embraces the vibrancy and experimentation of an artist. Cash prizes range from $500 to $1000.

Hamptons Doc Fest
2021 Guidelines + Application Instructions

Submission Deadlines:
Early Deadline April 30
Regular Deadline June 25
Late Deadline July 16

I. Submission Guidelines

LENGTH: Shorts (1-15 minutes)
Features (41-180 minutes)

. HDF does not accept works-in-progress
. Only work completed after January 2020 will be considered
. You must provide a properly completed official application
. HDF does not have a formal premiere requirement but when making final decisions, programmers take a film’s exposure into consideration and will give preference to a New York or East Coast premiere.
. HDF is not a themes competition.
Jurors will consider quality, creativity and professionalism.

SUBMISSION FORMAT: Hamptons Doc Fest accepts either secure, password protected links (Vimeo, private YouTube, etc) as long as the link is not public.

EXHIBITION FORMAT: The required exhibition formats and delivery date deadlines will be confirmed by the Festival after invitations have been extended and confirmed. Please check in with the Festival staff before creating your Festival exhibition copy or copies to ensure the format and technical specifications are correct

FESTIVAL NOTIFICATION & EXHIBITION: Notification will be sent by email to the Primary Contact listed on the entry form by October 4, 2021.

RIGHTS & CLEARANCES: HDF expects all filmmakers to secure music and talent rights to their films for festival exhibition. It is the sole responsibility of the entity submitting the projects to secure permission from the copyright holder of the material in question. HDF will not be held responsible for any inclusion of uncleared copyrighted materials.


ENTRY FORM: Hamptons Doc Fest partners with the online submission service FilmFreeway. Entries can be submitted via

Early Deadline: April 30, 2021 Fee: $40 per feature/$30 per short
Regular Deadline: June 25, 2021 Fee: $50 per feature/$40 per short
Late Deadline: July 16, 2021 Fee: $65 per feature/$45 per short

•FilmFreeway accepts credit card payment

RIGHTS & CLEARANCES: HDF expects all filmmakers to secure music and talent rights to their films for festival exhibition. It is the sole responsibility of the entity submitting the projects to secure permission from the copyright holder of the material in question. HDF will not be held responsible for any inclusion of uncleared copyrighted materials. HDF maintains the right to keep 2 DVDs for the Festival archives and subsequent outreach programs with filmmakers approval.

By submitting this form, you are stating that you have read and agree with the guidelines of the Hamptons Doc Fest. All statements you made in this document/form are true, and you certify that you have cleared all rights for this film and that no agents of the Festival can be held liable for the contents of or damage to the film. Please sign and date. Thank you.

Hamptons Doc Fest . Box 915 . Bridgehampton, NY11932 631-237-8055

Overall Rating
  • Connie Tais

    Excellent festival! Everyone was so nice and committed to the films. Thank you to all the organizers. Very happy to have been part of it.

    May 2021
  • The Hamptons Doc team were awesome and wonderful to work with. We were thrilled to have been included in such a quality festival alongside such great films and with great filmmakers. I wish we could have been there in person and I wish we could have done some virtual panels - that would be my only criticism. The lack of festival inclusion....which I know is incredibly difficult! Congratulations to the team and Thank you for taking care of us and including us in your awesome program!

    December 2020
  • Helen Herbert

    Excellent festival! Everyone on staff was stellar and so professional. I was honored to have my short doc film screened with Hamptons Doc Fest.

    December 2020
    Response from festival:

    Thank you Helen. Your film helped make our Hamptons Doc Fest Shorts program one of the most popular ever.

  • Lise Zumwalt

    Phenomenal films, great people! Small, personal, well attended.

    December 2017